In the dynamic freight industry, market conditions can oscillate between being loose (shipper’s market) and tight (carrier’s market). No matter the market, it’s important for freight brokerages to be proactive. In this blog post, we will explore different strategies that can be implemented by sales teams, coverage teams, and operations/team leads to seize opportunities and win more freight.
Sales teams play a crucial role in building customer relationships and balancing customer needs with company goals. In a loose market, their biggest concerns are managing customer relationships, market agility, and winning freight. Here are some strategies for sales teams to overhaul their booking process and increase their win rate:
- Volume over transactions: Focus on securing larger volumes of freight rather than individual transactions, as it can lead to more consistent business and better margins.
- Use tools to increase win rate: Leverage technology and data-driven insights to identify and target high-potential customers, improving the chances of winning freight.
- Take the freight and worry about margin later: In a competitive market, consider accepting freight even if the margin is initially lower, with the intention of negotiating better rates in the future.
- Build your pipeline: Continuously prospect and develop a strong pipeline of potential customers to ensure a steady flow of freight opportunities.
- Understand your network: Analyze carrier performance data to identify reliable and efficient partners, enhancing your ability to meet customer demands.
- Ask for referrals: Satisfied customers can be excellent sources of referrals. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations, as they can lead to valuable business opportunities.
Coverage teams are responsible for finding and retaining quality carriers, meeting customer demands, managing financials/margins, and ensuring compliance with regulations. To optimize their booking process and cover more freight, coverage teams can implement the following strategies:
- Book multiple loads at a time: Instead of focusing on one load at a time, consider booking multiple loads within a specific lane or region. This approach improves efficiency and increases the chances of securing carriers.
- Use a database that works for you: Invest in a comprehensive carrier database that provides accurate and up-to-date information, making it easier to find suitable carriers quickly.
- Focus on reduced effort for the biggest outcome: Prioritize loads that offer higher profitability and require less effort to secure, allowing coverage teams to maximize their efficiency and margins.
- Paint the picture rather than reading out a list: When communicating with carriers, emphasize the benefits of working with your brokerage rather than simply listing available loads. Paint a compelling picture of the opportunities and advantages they can gain.
- Automate repetitive tasks: Leveraging technology to automate routine administrative tasks, such as document generation and load tracking, frees up more time for critical activities like carrier management and customer service.
- Prioritize the highest payoff: Identify the loads that provide the greatest financial return and allocate resources accordingly to secure those loads first.
Operations and team leads face challenges related to managing team performance, ensuring efficient operations, adapting to market conditions, and mitigating risk. Here are strategies to overhaul the booking process from an operations perspective:
- Alignment between Sales & Ops: Foster strong communication and alignment between sales teams and operations to ensure smooth coordination and efficient execution of freight transactions.
- Assess the impact of culture: Evaluate how your team’s culture influences their ability to work together effectively. Foster a supportive and collaborative environment that encourages innovation and problem-solving.
- Lead, don’t micromanage: Empower your team to make decisions and take ownership of their responsibilities. Provide guidance and support, but avoid micromanagement, which can hinder productivity and morale.
- Pick up on patterns: Observe patterns and trends in your team’s performance and operations. Identify areas of improvement and implement proactive measures to address them.
- Learn from the experience and allow failure: Encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Embrace failures as opportunities for growth and encourage your team to share lessons learned.
- Have a long-term vision: Instead of focusing solely on short-term goals, develop a two-year vision for your team. This forward-thinking approach enables better planning, adaptability to market changes, and strategic decision-making.
What You Can Do Today:
To thrive in the freight market, consider the following steps you can act on now:
- Invest in technology: Explore and invest in freight management software, data analytics tools, and automation solutions that can streamline your operations and improve efficiency.
- Streamline existing workflows: Continuously evaluate and refine your workflows to eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Look for opportunities to automate manual tasks and improve collaboration.
- Implement daily or weekly standups: Establish regular standup meetings with your team to enhance communication, share updates, and address any challenges or roadblocks collectively.
- Join a community: Participate in freight industry communities, conferences, and associations to network with peers, gain insights, and stay updated on industry trends and best practices.
Winning freight in a loose market requires a strategic approach tailored to different roles within freight brokerages. By implementing the strategies outlined for sales teams, coverage teams, and operations/team leads, freight brokerages can position themselves to seize opportunities, build stronger relationships, and gain a competitive edge in the market. Embracing technology, optimizing workflows, and staying connected with industry peers will further enhance their chances of success in winning freight and thriving in a dynamic market environment. To learn how you can win more freight with Cargo Chief’s C4 Capacity Procurement platform, request a meeting with our team today.